As Grand Rapids citizens humbly washed and dried their clothes at a local Laundromat, some perhaps using money from their already tight budget, in walked a group of excited people with pockets full of quarters.
The group announced to curious onlookers that they would be paying for everyone’s laundry to be washed and dried. Their generosity was gratefully accepted by the people, as was the one request of the charitable group: rather than paying the good deed back, the people must pass it forward.
The strangers with quarters at the Laundromat were one of several groups of the 2011 GRCC “Pass it Forward” event, a day when groups of students and other volunteers performed acts of kindness for citizens of Grand Rapids with the intention that they pass the good deeds forward.
In an effort to create more strings of good deeds, Grand Rapids Community College will host its third annual “Pass it Forward” event on Friday, February 24.
The goal of the event is to “create a chain of good deeds that encourages others to continue the good actions,” said Leah Kicinski, AmeriCorps*VISTA volunteer, who is helping to organize this year’s event.
“This year, we partnered with community nonprofit organizations in the area, such as the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans,” said Program Coordinator/Staff Assistant Tiffany Ewigleben. Students will volunteer at these designated organizations rather than brainstorming random service ideas as they have previous years.
Potential goals of working with organizations this year could be to “get some students to become long term volunteers, or show students passions they have which they didn’t know about,” Ewigleben said.
Erica Ford, a GRCC student and volunteer of past “Pass it Forward” events, reflects on her experience serving others.
“I enjoyed it because I love giving back to other people,” Ford said. “I feel like everyone is seeing the help others need, and they’re sitting back and saying, ‘Someone else will do it.’ Well I say, ‘Why don’t we do it right here, right now?’”
This year’s day will look like this:
• Registered volunteers will sign in and meet in the Multipurpose Room by 9:00 a.m.
• Kick off with guest speaker Bob Hoffman, founder of ePIFanyNow (the nonprofit organization that inspired GRCC’s “Pass it Forward”)
• Volunteers break into groups led by student leaders from the Honors program
• Groups head to their designated volunteer places and serve for about two hours.
• Last, groups gather for a provided lunch and share the day’s experiences, with the day ending around 2:00.
Additional volunteers are welcome. To register as a volunteer, visit http://cms.grcc.edu/passitforward and click on the link, “Register Here,” and follow the instructions.
Registration should be completed by February 21. Sign in will be from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. the day of the event outside the Multipurpose Room in the Student Center.